Tree Planting Guide

How to Plant a Tree Step-by-Step

weeping cherry tree

Follow this tree planting guide to learn how to plant a tree. A tree in your yard or garden will be around for a very long time, and will become a permanent part of your landscape. It will affect the appearance of your property, as well as your way of living. You should consider all your options, plan it's placement carefully, and take the time to plant it properly.

What Tree is right for you?

Your choice should depend on many factors. Do you want a small flowering tree, with beautiful Spring flowers? One that gives you shade, and also brilliant colored leaves in the fall? Do you want a fast-growing tree to provide shade and/or beauty quickly? Or a tree who's evergreen foliage looks nice even in winter?

Choose trees for the purpose you want them for, as well as ones for your own special climate.

Keep in mind that you shouldn't plant them to close to buildings (your house) or gardens (rose garden, flower or vegetable garden) they will eventually have extensive root systems that will rob nutrients from gardens that are close by, as well as shading areas that you might not want shaded.

Be sure to choose a spot that will give them plenty of room to grow to their full potential.

Time to Plant

Potted or container grown trees can be planted at any time,if well watered. Although a better time is early Spring before growth starts, or late August/early September.Follow this tree planting guide.

How to Plant a Tree

One of the most important factors in planting your tree is : Do not let the roots dry out!

If your tree is bare-root: you can store it for several days in a cool, dark place, with the roots covered with a damp material.

If it will be planted within a day: soak the roots in a pail of water.

If it won't get planted for a long period of time: Plant it temporarily (called heeling-in) this is done by laying it horizontally in a shallow trench and using moist soil to cover the roots. (keep moist)

1. Dig the Hole

The hole you dig should be at least one foot wider than the size of the roots on the tree. It should be no deeper than the dept of the root ball, so that when planted, the tree will be at the same depth that it was in in the container. If you dig the hole only as large as the root mass, then stuff the tree into this, the roots have to struggle to grow into the hard dirt surrounding it. Provide it with soft, loosened soil in which to extend it's roots and grow.

Heavy clay soil will hold to much water, and drown the roots. Improve drainage by adding amendments to the soil.

2. Prepare the Planting Hole

Make a mound of soil in the bottom of the hole, for the tree to sit on. The soil level from the pot should be about 2 inches above the surrounding soil level. The tree will settle, and this will prevent a depression from forming that would allow rainwater to collect and cause root or crown rot.

3. Ready the Tree

Remove the tree from the container, or remove wrapping, and put it in the hole.

Trees that have a natural fiber burlap: This fiber may be left around the roots of the tree, however, you must fold it down into the hole, or cut away any that would be exposed. If left above the soil, it will act like a wick to dry the soil and the roots. Be sure to remove any plastic or synthetic twine to prevent root strangulation.

Gently loosen the soil around the sides and bottom of the root ball.

4. Get to the Root of it

Trim any damaged or dead roots back to healthy roots.

Spread roots over the mound. If the roots encircle the mound, spread them out,removing any that can't be spread.

5. Stake it

Install stakes, to support the tree and prevent wind damage.

6. Cover it all up

Back fill the hole, spreading roots in layers (some deeper than others) Firm soil in hole with foot.

7. Form Soil Basin

Form a soil basin (indentation in the soil) at least as wide as the hole. This is so that when the tree is watered, the water will soak in and not simply run off.

8. Mulch it

Apply a generous amount of mulch (2-3 inches) This will help prevent moisture loss, prevent weeds and grass, and it also looks pretty nice!

In every tree planting guide you will find mention of the use of mulch. But do you know the correct way to mulch?

Proper mulching of a tree is important! Over-mulching can be fatal to your tree! It can keep the soil to wet, encourage disease, reduce oxygen, and even prevent water from reaching the soil.

In this tree planting guide, I suggest that: Wood chips and/or bark mulch make the best mulches for trees.

9.Secure the Tree

Using appropriate ties, secure the tree to the stakes. Staking a young tree supports it and prevents it from leaning, or being uprooted.

10. Give it a Drink

Water thoroughly. Be sure to water regularly! Water is the most important concern for a newly planted tree in it's first year. Trees need at least one inch of rain per week. Don't be fooled by a light rain! It cannot supply enough water for your tree.

Tree Planting Guide Suggestion for Deer and Rabbit Problems

If you live in an area where deer and rabbits are a problem in your yard, you might want to consider an environmentally friendly way to deter them. By using Repellent Strips you can keep them from nibbling on your young trees and causing major damage. These strips omit an odor that deer and rabbits hate! Simply hang them in the tree.

I hope my Tree Planting Guide has been useful to you. I personally think that trees are an important part of our yards and gardens. I have many different trees planted in my own yard/garden that I enjoy very much!

Pruning and Training

Along with my tree planting guide, here is some information on pruning that might be of help to you:

Young trees need some pruning to encourage a strong branch structure. Always prune away dead or damaged branches.

The tree needs a "leader" branch. This is the tallest upward branch on the tree. If there are more than one branch trying to be the leader, remove the smaller, or less shapely ones. The tree only needs one leader.

Prune off any branches that rub against each other. Suckers and branches that point in toward the center should be removed. Leaving small branches along the trunk will help to thicken and strengthen it. These can be removed in future years.

Pruning is best done in late Fall to early Spring.


There is much debate in the question of fertilizing newly planted trees. In my tree planting guide, I suggest that you Do Not fertilize at planting time, but wait until you see active growth from the tree, then give it some organic fertilizer.

Let's not forget about Rose Trees. Click here to learn more about them!

For a Great place to buy your Trees check out the Direct Gardening link below!

Check the great prices at

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